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In Stress and Coping

Do You Know that Stress is Contageous?

Imagine the following scenario: You are feeling relaxed and somehow happy and suddenly you meet someone on edge. Immediately, what was once peace and quiet becomes caught up in the stress ad your positive emotions dissipate. Does it sound familiar? If so, then at that moment you were infected by a virus of stress. Science has proven that stress is contagious.

A study conducted by researchers from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary focused on this issue. Researchers looked at how stress could be transmitted using pairs of male and female mice. The team took one mouse from each pair away from the other and exposed it to mild stress before returning it to its partner. They found that the neural networks that regulate the brain’s response to stress have changed for both the stressed mouse and its naive partner. Even more interesting was the fact that the networks were both altered similarly.

The researchers also found that activated neurons release an “alarm pheromone” in the stressed mouse, which his/her partner picks up. It then alerts other members of the group. Also, it was discovered that the effects of stress disappear in female mice after a social interaction. However, this was not the case in male mice.

If you are the person who easily “pick up” the virus of stress, you need to remember that it also might affect people close to you. Your task is to protect yourself from undesired stress and to save other people around you from needless worry.

Here are some simple ways to beat stress naturally:

  1. Eat anti-stress food. Diets consisting of processed foods, grains, sugars, and artificial chemicals put a strain on your bodies. So, consume fresh food and lots of water and avoid drinking stress-inducing coffee.
  2. Avoid toxins. Stress makes it hard for your liver and kidney to get rid of toxins, so be kind to these vital body organs. So, put away household cleaners and deodorants full of chemicals, avoid processed food, and nicotine.
  3. Sleep tight. Sleep is one of the best ways to fight stress. It clears the mind, beats fatigue and calms the body.
  4. Just say “no”. It’s good to help others, but only to some extent. Learn the danger of spreading yourself too thin, of not having enough ‘me time’ and quality moments with the family.
  5. Exercise. This releases endorphins which help regulate insulin and boosts hormone levels, as well as strengthen the immune system.
  6. Load up on antioxidants. Stress triggers adrenaline production which robs the body of vitamins and minerals. So, you need to load up on antioxidants. Green tea, yerba mate tea, and peppermint tea are rich with antioxidants and vitamins that help you deal with stress.
  7. Psych yourself up. Go ahead. Tell yourself how confident and smart you are. Remind yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of while admitting that feel stressed. Surround yourself with good vibes – anything that makes you feel great.

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